Monday, March 13, 2006

Naked "Charticles"

If your client has little to say, say it with a "charticle."

A "charticle" is a made-up word (thus the quotation marks) for MSM articles that rely completely on the results of client-sponsored surveys. Reporters seem to love surveys and factoids; they can use these data-bytes to tell a quick, compelling tale, and better yet, they can usually include a pie chart or picture (which counts for another 1,000 words).

Here's a tidbit from SonicWALL's latest survey:
About 39 percent of (telecommuters) of both sexes said they wear sweats while working from home, but 12 percent of males and 7 percent of females wear nothing at all, according to a survey of 941 remote and mobile workers worldwide conducted by Insight Express and SonicWALL, a provider of integrated network security and productivity solutions.
Yes, I am sure that people who buy "integrated network security and productivity solutions" truly care about naked telecommuters. NOT.

The survey did go on to tell a good story to tell about the less-than-rigorous standards of network security among telecommuters, but, clearly this point wasn't as - well, sexy - as the naked telecommuter tidbit.

Say you're the PR pro who pitched this story. Would you be proud of the resulting ink? Will SonicWALL's CEO or Boardmembers be excited by the "naked charticles"?

The lesson? "Charticles" are good, if the coverage that results is of-interest to your client's prospective buyers. "Naked charticles" are not so good, unless you run a porn site.

Disclaimer: SonicWALL was a client of ours, years ago - and for what it's worth, I hold a high regard for their current agency. (Doesn't mean this particular initiative panned out, though.)

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